Asia

Vietnam elects prime minister amid big challenges

Nguyen Xuan Phuc, center, takes oath after being elected as prime minister in Hanoi, Vietnam Thursday April, 7, 2016. Vietnam’s National Assembly on Thursday elected Phuc as prime minister, and he takes office at a time of soaring public debt, a serious budget deficit and China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea. (Thong Nhat/Vietnam News Agency via AP)

Nguyen Xuan Phuc, center, takes oath after being elected as prime minister in Hanoi, Vietnam Thursday April, 7, 2016. Vietnam’s National Assembly on Thursday elected Phuc as prime minister, and he takes office at a time of soaring public debt, a serious budget deficit and China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea. (Thong Nhat/Vietnam News Agency via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Vietnam's National Assembly has elected Nguyen Xuan Phuc as prime minister, and he takes office at a time of soaring public debt, a serious budget deficit and China's growing assertiveness in the South China Sea.

In a televised inaugural speech Thursday, Phuc vowed to push up with reforms, fight corruption and defend the country's sovereignty.

The appointment of Phuc, who rose from governor of the central province of Quang Nam to deputy prime minister five years ago, was a mere formality after he was picked at the Communist Party's congress in January as the sole candidate to replace Nguyen Tan Dung, who was removed from office Wednesday.

Analysts say Phuc is likely to continue with economic reforms and international integration.